‘A small price to pay’: Saskatoon nightclubs expect to lose business in light of new public health orders
Pink manager Joe Jackson.
SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon nightclub operator says the province’s new public health orders will definitely have an impact on his businesses, but it’s a small price to pay if it stops the spread of COVID-19.
“It definitely knee-capped us and threw us for a loop,” said Joe Jackson, general manager of Pink Nightclub in Saskatoon.
On Wednesday the province announced two new public health orders, specifically around nightclubs in Saskatoon. Nightclubs are restricted from selling alcohol past 10 p.m. and nightclubs have to close at 11 p.m. and cannot open until at least 9 a.m. the following day.
Jackson said these orders fall within a time-frame where his club stands to lose the most business.
“I have all of my staff phoning me about their shifts. Alot of them aren’t even scheduled until after 11 p.m.,” Jackson said, adding he thinks these health orders are short-sighted and are aimed at the wrong businesses. “Why do we have to pay the price for something that happened at a venue that wasn’t a nightclub and why is it only Saskatoon, and not Regina, or Prince Albert or Moose Jaw.”
At a news conference in Regina, Saskatchewan health minister Jim Reiter and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said a steady rise in COVID-19 cases in Saskatoon have been linked to public gatherings at bars and nightclubs, with dozens of cases linked to those establishments.
Over the past two weeks the Saskatchewan Health Authority declared outbreaks at DIVAS Nightclub, the Longbranch and Outlaws Country Rock Bar.
Mitch Lupichuk, co-owner of the Capitol Music Club said the announcement does mean his establishment is going to lose money from alcohol sales and an 11 p.m. closure, but he said the new health orders are for the best.
“10 p.m. is more than fair,” Lupichuk said. “I’m surprised this didn’t come down sooner.”
Lupichuk said the Capitol has already cancelled all of its Halloween events this upcoming weekend, out of precaution, he said.
Jackson said he’s closed the dancefloor at Pink Nightclub because it was prohibited by the SHA during the pandemic and these further measures to restrict guests is expected to hurt business even further. But given the rising case numbers, he said these restrictions are a small price to pay if it helps stop infections.
“We’re at a point in the second-wave where this is necessary,” he said. “If it means someone doesn’t get sick, then this is a small price to pay.” The new public health orders take effect on Friday Oct. 30.